Monthly Archives: February 2013

Danica Patrick: Not just a pretty face


The Daytona 500 kicks off the NASCAR Sprint Cup season every year and, unlike most sports, it has the biggest event of the year as its first.

Every year there are good storylines coming into the race, such as drivers changing teams and new rule changes. However, this year was like no other as, for the first time, a woman sat on the pole for the historic race.

Danica Patrick has often been criticized for receiving a ride based on things other than her driving ability and her results to date have been shaky at best. That criticism, however, has slowed down some after Patrick not only won the pole, but also had a strong showing in the “Great American Race”.

Patrick finished eighth, but ran in the top five for much of the race. She became the highest finishing female in the Daytona 500 history with her eight place run.

Prior to the race I, for one, thought too much attention was being paid to Patrick. I understand the historical implications of the situation, but she had not proven herself to deserve as much attention as she was getting.

Watching the race, some may have thought, “OK, she has run well, but when is she going to crash? She always crashes.” That has been her downfall.

But on Sunday, she proved her critics wrong by not crashing and finishing well.

She also proved she’s not just a pretty face and she can run with the men.

Media overanalyzes 40-Yard Dash times at NFL Combine


The NFL Combine is an annual event that brings with it a great amount of media attention.

One of the most talked about events of the Combine is the 40-yard dash. Each player has two attempts to get timed running 40 yards, and the times usually fall into the 4.3-5+ second range. The times are scrutinized heavily, as the difference between a time of 4.6 and 4.7 can be the difference between being a second-or third-round draft pick.

The infamous Manti Te’o was heavily criticized for his time. His “Catfish” story is beginning to die down, but as the draft approaches, it seems like there are still those who do not want to see him succeed.

Te’o ran his 40-yard dash in 4.82 seconds. This seems like a great time on paper, but he is surprisingly drawing criticism for this performance from the media. Chicago Tribune writer Dan Pompei wrote an article titled, “Te’o disappoints with 40-yard dash times.”

Speed is important, but it cannot determine the heart of a player, or the will to win. It does not account for the intelligence of a player, or how he will handle certain game situations.

It is time to stop overanalyzing small, trivial aspects of these men and focus on what matters, which is their performance on the field. Unfortunately, some members of the media forget about this, and nothing will change until these players are on the field for their NFL teams.

ESPN celebrates ‘Danica 500’ and ignores Rousey


This past weekend was a historic weekend for women’s sports as NASCAR driver Danica Patrick and UFC fighter Ronda Rousey both took center stage. It was a weekend in which sports media latched on to the historic female storyline.

ESPN began its NASCAR coverage in a “Sunday Conversation” interview with Patrick within 24 hours of her Daytona 500 pole win. Patrick continued to dominate ESPN coverage throughout the week. It felt like ESPN was covering the “Danica 500” rather than the Daytona 500.

Meanwhile, ESPN seemed to ignore fighter Ronda Rousey. Rousey and Liz Carmouche became the first female fighters to compete in UFC history. For years, women’s MMA has been reduced to sideshows on local and regional promotions. But Rousey had the “it” factor to allow women’s MMA to be taken seriously. However, because ESPN does not have TV rights for the UFC (Fox has a 7-year deal with UFC), ESPN felt little need to cover Rousey’s fight.

Rousey and Patrick are both mainstream stars, but if ESPN had it their way, Rousey would have never even existed. ESPN offered only 30 seconds of Rousey’s fight coverage. That’s right, 30 seconds.

ESPN’s coverage selection draws on an even bigger issue in sport. Does ESPN really care about the rise of women’s sports, or is it just a marketing ploy to benefit their outlets? ESPN covered Patrick’s race, but not Rousey’s fight because it was on another network. Sports fans should hope for competition from other networks to end ESPN’s monopoly on sports.

There are rumors of a Fox Sports 1, but those rumors say the network won’t be launched until August. Until then, Americans are stuck with ESPN and its interpretation of which athletes should make history.

On a weekend where women’s sports should be celebrated, instead we must focus on the agenda of mainstream media. Both of these ladies have earned the spotlight this weekend, however only one of the athletes got the fair treatment she deserved.

Media handles Buss death with respect


In the midst of the Lakers’ disappointing season, the team took a loss off the court with the passing of long-time owner, Dr. Jerry Buss. Dr. Buss was an innovator and game-changer for not only the Lakers but the NBA and the city of Los Angeles as well. If it was not for his vision and great business mind, the Lakers franchise would not have the prestige it does today.

With Dr. Buss’ passing, there are a lot of general questions about the team. Obviously, it is the media’s job to seek the answers to these questions and report them to the public. With that in mind, the media has been very polite and understanding while trying to get a feel for what’s next for the Lakers and the Buss family.

On the emotional day of Dr. Buss’ death, a press conference was held with the Buss family speaker where he was asked questions about the future of the team and their ownership. In situations like these, there is always a possibility a reporter will ask an unnecessary or disrespectful question, but no one did. None of the reporters heckled the speaker in any way; when he ended a sentence with: “That is all I am going to say at this time,” reporters moved on to the next question. In addition, there were a couple of questions asked about Dr. Buss’ personality and great memories, which created a positive feel to the press conference.

Since the day of his death, there has been nothing but positive media coverage on Dr. Buss’ accomplishments. The best moment came during the pregame show for the Lakers v. Celtics game, two days after the passing. There was a short speech given by Kobe Bryant at Staples Center, followed by a moment of silence with a spotlight on the seat where he used to sit and watch every game. After the moment of silence, ESPN went back to the studio and there was an emotional and brief statement made by Magic Johnson where he expressed his love and appreciation for Dr. Buss.

The level of respect this situation has been shown is tremendous and the media’s coverage has been nothing but positive. ESPN and all the other media outlets that have covered this tragedy have done a great job giving Buss and his family the respect they deserve.

North Dakota Announcer Suspended


The University of North Dakota’s overtime loss to Northern Arizona was no doubt upsetting to players and fans alike. Play-by-play radio announcer Paul Ralston, however, was apparently very upset by the game.

In an interview with North Dakota’s coach, Brian Jones, after the game, Ralston referred to the loss as a “choke job.” This phrase clearly upset North Dakota’s Athletic Department, which suspended Ralston for two games. The incident was featured on almost every major news outlet including ESPN, CBS, and Yahoo Sports.

To many people, it may not seem like a big deal. After all, we have heard much worse. I think one of the main factors in the decision to suspend Ralston was because his comment was made directly to the coach. Jones, however, did not seem fazed by it. He talked about how his team let the game slip away.

Many bloggers and Twitter users have commented that the suspension seems a bit excessive. While I tend to agree, I also respect North Dakota’s decision. Ralston blatantly disrespected Jones, a fellow employee of the school, to his face. While it is Ralston’s job to report honestly about the game, he definitely crossed a line.

In the wake of the Brent Musburger incident, it is evident announcers are being watched closer than ever. It raises the question of how much freedom of speech announcers have. There seems to be a struggle for some announcers to report the game fairly and keep the audience entertained without offending someone. All the media incidents as of late will only increase scrutiny on announcers’ commentaries.

Lousy NBA Slam Dunk Contest given life by commentators


The NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest went from Jordan/Wilkins in the 80s, to Vinsanity (Vince Carter) in 2000, to Ross/Evans in 2013. I doubt many even knew of Terrence Ross or Jeremy Evans prior to this year’s Slam Dunk Contest.

The contest, by many standards was a snoozer. But the TNT crew of Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Shaq, and Kevin Harlan managed to make it entertaining.

The broadcast team took a “tell it like it is” approach to their telecast. Barkley and Shaq routinely noted the lack of playing time the players involved get on their respective teams. Some may argue it took away from these players’ moment of glory, but the comedy used in their commentary kept viewers watching. Barkley mocked comedian Kevin Hart, the attire worn by high-ups, and asked his TNT bosses to pay LeBron James to be in next year’s contest. The commentators understood their viewers did not want serious basketball talk all the time and let their personalities shine.

The TNT crew did their best to entertain their audience and tried to treat the event like a big deal. But, no matter how well an event is covered, if the event itself is crap, then it’s still crap.

Behind the Scenes at Super Bowl XLVII: Direct TV Celebrity Beach Bowl Orleans


The Super Bowl comes around once a year and showcases two of the best teams in the NFL. Most of America watches the game, but many don’t realize there are many ancillary events that happen before the actual game takes place. One of those events is the Direct TV Celebrity Beach Bowl. This event involves a flag football game in the sand between former NFL players, celebrities, actors, musicians and other athletes.

Being able to experience this event first hand is something I won’t forget. With celebrities all around like Desmond Howard, Eddie George and Shawn Johnson, it would have been easy to get overwhelmed. But for us, eight Sport Management students from BGSU, it was just another day helping out in New Orleans. It was our duty to make sure the celebrities stayed on time.

This event started off with a red carpet walk where the celebrities would talk to various people from different media stations. After the red carpet, the celebrities moved to a gifting tent where many businesses were offering up their products. The celebrities were then told to wait around in a lounging area where they talked and ate food provided for them.

The game itself consisted of four quarters of fun flag football, where the celebrities showed off their skills. Warren Moon and Deion Sanders shined in the game, while the other players were more concerned with having a good time. This event is a fan favorite for people who witness it live and more than 10,000 people showed up to watch this event. After the game was over there was a Pitbull concert and a Justin Timberlake party at night.

With so many events going on in one day we got to see what it was like to manage an event of this magnitude. We also saw how quickly an area can be transformed from a flag football game in the sand to a pop concert.